9 Ways to Celebrate Birthdays During the Coronavirus While Social Distancing

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girl sitting in silver car with happy birthday poster on side with colorful streamers

Birthdays look a little different these days.

With so many places being closed and drastically uncertain times at hand, it has certainly restricted many typical birthday celebrations. However, that doesn’t mean you still can’t embrace & enjoy the special day at home, so we’re offering some fun ideas to make the most of this year’s trip around the sun! ☀️

1. Get on a Zoom call with friends & family.

kids standing in front of cake with candles with computer on granite countertop

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Your friends are just a Zoom call away and as a bonus, it’s totally free (and easy) to use. Even better, you can surprise your bestie or child with a Zoom call and already have all their friends and family waiting for the celebration – you can even add up to 100 people at the same time. 😱 Plus, you can even send secure group texts, images, and audio files from mobile and desktop.

person with laptop on leg and zoom call on screen with multiple people

Just this past weekend we surprised a friend and celebrated her birthday from our living rooms – she even said it was ultimately probably better than any other birthday since so many people joined the call and she got to see more people in one day that she would on a typical birthday! We had a great conversation and even played an online game called Evil Apples vs. Humanity (so fun for adults that have iOS and Android)!

Hip Tip: Here’s a list of other unique ways you can stay in touch with friends and family while social distancing.

2. Do a porch present drop off.

boy holding birthday present outside with peace signs and flowers

Most people love presents, but especially younger kids who fully expect to open a few on their special day. 😉 Of course, it’s kind of awkward to ask for presents, so a great way to organize this would be to reach out to parents and let them know you’ve scheduled a Zoom call. Explain how your child is excited to see their friends, open some gifts as they would at a typical party, and so that they don’t feel like they’re missing out too much on their birthday.

Chances are, if parents are comfortable with dropping something off, they’ll most likely offer to do it on their own. 🤗

box of funfetti birthday cake frosting candles and sprinkles in box

If you want to step outside the box, consider putting together a decorative cake in a box! If you have some extra boxes of cake, frosting, candles, and fun sprinkles on hand, you could put together a box similar to what Lina recently did.

Don’t have any birthday foods on hand? No worries, just make sure to add it to your next grocery pick-up. We shared all of our favorites here, which are FREE!

3. Invest in a moon bounce.

kids jumping on colorful moon bounce outside in yard

The fun will be long-lasting even after the birthday celebrations with a moon bounce at home. Not only could this double as a birthday present and be fun for them and their siblings on their birthday, but it will be a super fun activity to keep your kids busy during quarantine.

Here are a few highly-rated moon bounces that are available online right now:

4. Tie-dye something.

two kids at table tie dying shirts with various colors

Making some cool tie-dye creations is a timeless activity that you may have forgotten about since you were a kid! In fact, I would have never even thought of it until my hip sidekick, Erica, did it for her daughter’s birthday last week.

And the results are just as beautiful as the memories you’ll be making! 😍

two different colored tie dye shirts on table

If you’re needing some new supplies to do this at home, Amazon and Walmart, are still delivering and have a ton of different options. Just make sure you plan ahead and don’t wait until the last minute since shipping times on non-essential items are varying greatly!

5. Make glow in the dark slime.

different colors in mason jars and plastic packets

While slime is super fun, there’s nothing more fun then when you mix it with the ability to glow in the dark and keep the fun going all night long! Your kids and you will have so much fun making this fun and easy DIY.

Erica on our team recently bought some off Amazon – check out her awesome results! 👏

glowing ball of slime with black background

Here’s what Erica on our team said about it:

“I ran out of time to order the glow in the dark glue as nothing would ship in time, so I ordered this glow in the dark powder on Amazon (it has both bad and really good reviews, but I took the chance). It works AWESOME and our glow in the dark slime turned out PERFECT-O!”

Hip Tip: Can’t get enough of slime? Check out all of these slime DIYs you can do at home.

6. Do a celebratory drive-by with friends.

truck with people holding signs

Your friends will know just how much they’re loved when you drive by with decorated cars, honking horns, and tons of people screaming happy birthday! We recently shared a reader’s adorable story on how she organized the whole production for her daughter’s 5th birthday. Here’s what her mom shared with us about her special day:

girl standing outside wearing glitter birthday crown next to decorated cars

“In lieu of a traditional party (amid Coronavirus concerns), we held a ‘drive-by’ birthday for my five-year-old daughter and it turned out AMAZING. We had about 20 cars, including both friends and family, who played birthday music, sang happy birthday, decorated their cars with signs, and honked. She thought it was so cool and asked if we could do it again next year. 😉 

The icing on the cake was her getting on our local news last night and on the radio here this morning. FYI this video is tear-inducing!”

7. Encourage neighbors to make chalk cards.

plastic bag with blue chalk and letter inside

Imagine the surprise on your child’s face when you’re strolling around the neighborhood on their birthday. Of course, this will take some serious support of your community, but if you’re friendly with your neighbors this will be a totally fun way to celebrate with each other from door to door.

man and kids writing with chalk on driveway

Hip Tip: As an idea, you can also try out this chalk art with painter’s tape to really make your artwork stand out! 😍

8. Make a tent and have a family sleepover.

large indoor fort with blanket and girl smiling at camera

While this may seem geared solely towards children, I’d like to believe that even adults who are young at heart can enjoy a living room tent, too. 😉 Gather all the blanket and pillows you can find and build the fort of your dreams – kids will love having mom and dad get in on the fun and chances are, together, you’ll build the best fort yet! Get the popcorn and movies ready!

Hip Tip: Want more fun ideas? Here are 21 fun things to do while social distancing at home!

9. Keep things traditional.

unicorn cake on glass stand with pink balloons and presents

There’s a reason balloons and cake are essential staples to any birthday celebration so don’t be afraid to keep with tradition and enjoy the night together eating cake and blowing out candles. Whether you’re just a couple or have a whole family – balloons and cake are always YES.

family surrounding baby with cake

Hip Tip: Is your baby turning one soon? If you’re planning to go to the grocery store or get grocery pick up sometime soon, all of these places offer free smash cakes and may still be offering them during this time. Of course, it’s important to call ahead and make sure this is an option in your area.

colorful balloons laying on the floor

“I delegated my husband to wake up early with me and blow up balloons. We got really creative after a while and started using an air mattress blower!”

homemade twinkie cake sliced open on a cake plate

Hip Tip: If you don’t want to head to the store, we have plenty of delicious dessert recipes you can make instead like this GIANT Twinkie Cake! 😋

woman hugging happy girl laughing in front of birthday cake

Happy Birthday from our Hip2Save team to you and/or your loved ones! 🥳

Cook up a yummy birthday dinner without leaving your house.

About the writer:

Sara is a self-taught blogger & photographer and brings 9+ years of experience to her craft. Her work has been featured in numerous esteemed publications, spanning building, travel, and fashion. Beyond her creative pursuits, Sara’s primary mission is to empower others to embrace a toxic-free & sustainable lifestyle.

Join The Discussion

Comments 83

  1. Hipgrandma

    Our grandsons 5th birthday was yesterday. His parents made a wagon “float” and wheeled him around the neighborhood. Neighbors had signs, Pom poms, cowbells, and even fireworks. He was King for a Day! We had family Zoom time while he opened gifts. Each of us had made a cake, so we all blew out candles and ate cake via Zoom. Gotta get creative, for sure. I’m proud of my kids for making his day memorable.

    • Candydate

      How adorable. I bet he did feel like a king too

    • chenga57

      Wow and fireworks?! So cute that everyone had a cake to enjoy too!!

    • catherinewakefield

      Love it. Goosebumps. @johncleese

    • Monique

      Cool idea

  2. Allison

    Today (Easter) is my son’s birthday, and friends suggested we do a drive-by celebration. We’ve got 8-10 families who’ll be surprising him in a drive-by celebration today 🙂 I know it’s not the same as a party (especially for my extroverted child), but it’ll still mean something. And we can celebrate another day when this whole mess is behind us.

    • megannt

      Can I have your email address? I’d like to send him a virtual card! (if you dont want to post it here send it to me through mine starfillednight at yahoo)

      • Allison

        Aww, thank you! I emailed you 🙂

  3. megannt

    My daughter turned 6 on April 6 and I asked family for a card shower and phone calls. She was very excited for all the birthday wishes (yes I disinfected mail before she opened it)

  4. krystal

    My sons birthday was April 5th we did a scavenger hunt with riddles for clues for his gifts, it was a blast!

  5. Suzanne

    We were supposed to go to Disney for my daughter’s birthday, so she’s extremely disappointed, even though we will go later in the year. She wants a baby shark cake so we’re going to convert our dining room into an under water oasis. I ordered blue streamers and inflatable fish from dollar tree. Our town will not allow friends to drive by because it is not traveling for an essential reason. We just have to make it special in our own way!

  6. ammber

    My daughters birthday was st Patrick’s day we basically did a indoor party I made a big deal ordered decorations for her had my husband last Music and I made cupcakes and we FaceTimed family. We did musical chairs, hot potato, because of the timing and that’s when our state had the stay at home order, we couldn’t get her a birthday gift on time delivered through Amazon. But she had really wanted beanboozle that gross jelly belly game. Thankfully we found the last one in Walmart. Com and my husband went to get it as a pick up order. I’m wishing everyone a happy birthday who has to be in doors. My daughter turned 8 and I’m sure we’ll never forget this birthday. I didn’t hear about coronavirus til mid January I had just gotten back from New York and they didn’t have any cases that I knew of my heart goes out to all of them and the beautiful state. Stay safe everyone

    • riss

      My birthday is on St. Patrick’s day, too. We live in the Bay area and we were on shelter in place on my birthday, but we were already in the wine country when it was announced, and stayed there for 2 more days. Then, the following day, Sonoma county joined the other counties, but we were able to have a nice dinner on my birthday. But no wine tasting 🙁

  7. ammber

    We were supposed to take her to California and go to knotts berry farm where all my family was going to be there. We bought tickets, hotel room and flight. I lost all the money from that actually the hotel refunded us but yeap I feel it was worth it rather be safe then sorry.

    • Emi

      I would contact Knotts about your tickets. They were generous to our family.

    • Kristine Rosati

      Contact the credit card company you used to see if your card offers any kind of trip insurance. Even if they don’t the credit card company may be willing to help you get a refund since people cant travel.

  8. Mariam

    Any ideas for 15 and 12 year old boys? They both have birthdays this week. Thank you so much!

    • megannt

      You could try minute to win it games! Even get family or friends involved by zoom to have everyone compete.

    • atank

      A Star Hip2Saver is a recognized member of our Hip2Save community hand selected by our team for demonstrating a long history of engagement with helpful & friendly comments across Hip2Save.com and our social channels. Our Star Hip2Saver badge acts as a verification for readers who know the ins and outs of all Hip2Save sets out to accomplish — assisting our community to live extraordinary lives on ordinary budgets. Readers cannot pay or provide any sort of exchange in order to earn this badge. Rather, they are invited to participate by a member of the Hip2Save team and opt to have the Star Hip2Saver badge added to their profile & comments.

      What about a tug of war game outside with the family “Baking birthday cake” showdown each brother bakes a cake or something for the other brother bday in a special time frame and see what they come up with Nerf guns game with the family

  9. Sp

    Are restaurants like Denny’s offering the birthday freebies on take outs?I have one coming next week

    • Kristine Rosati

      Yes, if you are registered you should be getting emails.

  10. Anne

    Our area cancelled a “drive by ” celebration after teachers had planned to drive thru their students neighborhood to stay in contact. The school district put the stop on that.

    • Tig

      What state do you live in?

    • Monique

      What!? That’s crazy my niece had one of her teachers drive by and check on her we sure appreciated it…

    • Jon

      Yeah, drive-bys are considered “joy rides”. Only essential travel is allowed in many areas and these don’t count. Obviously that depends on what state you live in.

  11. Sla1981

    Any ideas for an 18th bous bday lol?

    • TJ

      That’s a tough one. My two oldest turned 20 and 18 right before quarantine. Like the week before school closed. Do you have the ability to have his friends send video messages and you could put a video together? Or organize a time for them to zoom with him and sing happy birthday?
      Could you get him 18 small gifts (candy, gum, phone charger, gift cards in small denominations), wrap them and hide them around the house? You could even do a scavenger hunt or have him look for two every hour. Just some thoughts. Good luck!

      • Sla1981

        He really don’t have alot of friends. I was messaging a bunch of MLB players trying to see if anyone would send him a video message (not holding my breath for a response) I am trying to come up with something. Thank you for your ideas.

        • Amy

          Try Cameo. You can pay to have a personalized message sent to someone from a celebrity or athlete. I haven’t used it yet but I plan to for my son’s birthday at the end of April.

    • Jaci1717

      In the same boat 18 yr old boy

      • Sla1981

        I’m sad for these Seniors!

        • TJ

          I love that idea about the MLB players! I hope it works out. He’s lucky to have a caring mama.

          My daughter is also a senior. I try to remind her that this will be part of her story. I think, too, that these kids will be world changers. This will be a motivator for them.

        • TJ

          My boys are watching NBA players Horse on ESPN. *eye roll* LOL. But anyway…apparently some athletes are giving out their cell phone numbers if kids want to text them. Maybe search something on ESPN for MLB players?

          • Sla1981

            Thank you TJ! I will try. So far no response. 1 read it. It is sad what these Seniors miss out on. Did they cancel/plan something for Graduation? Ours is still in limbo.

          • Michelle

            Hi TJ my son is a senior and turning 18. He was supposed to graduate the day before his birthday. I have been going crazy trying to think of something to do for him to make him feel special. He’s huge into nba. Do you happen to know any of the players and numbers that were given out? Thanks for the help.

  12. Sue

    In my state a “drive by” celebration is a violation of the state’s stay at home order. We are only allowed to leave home for “life sustaining” activities, like buying food for people/pets and picking up medicine. Jogging and walking alone are ok too, as long as you mask up and stay 6 feet away from others.

  13. TJ

    Thank you all for the fantastic ideas. In our family (4 kids) when our kids turn 8 they get a big friend party at a place they choose. My youngest is turning 8 on 4/22, so this was his big party year. He wanted to have his party at a bowling alley. He’s pretty bummed but I told him we could wait till after quarantine is over or we could do it for his 9th birthday.

    He loves basketball so we have a basketball back drop to hang on the wall and I have props we can use to take silly photos.

    Anyway, I was thinking about organizing a drive by. Can anyone think of a safe way I could distribute a little goodie bag for his friends who come by? I can’t think of a way to do it and they may not be a safe way.

    • LG

      Do you have a little TV tray? You could put a little basket out by the mailbox on the TV tray and make a sign that says thanks for driving by!

      • TJ

        Thank you for this idea! I think I might just wait for the actual party after covid is gone.

    • catherinewakefield

      I wouldn’t. Good bag. What if. Do after. IMHO How about ask the parents of they have a favorite song. Blast it?

      • TJ

        Oh that’s a great idea!

    • Sla1981

      My co worker had a card table set up at the end of the drive way for people to grab a bag from the car (she had a drive by shower) she had totes to put the gifts in.
      You could also try and use a fishing net 🙂

  14. Melissaan

    This one is for Easter. With everything going on, and having our food delivered instead of going into the stores, our family forgot about getting plastic eggs and candy for the Easter Egg hunt we normally have at our church after the Easter service. Our kids colored 9 hard boiled eggs, but we need more items for the hunt. So we are going to put some coins and dollar bills in baggies and put them out as well. This year things are different, but that is ok.

    • Dani O

      Same. I went for a nice relaxing drive up the mountain yesterday to get out and clear my head after 3 weeks in lock down (2 for potential exposure, 1 now that I’m furloughed ) — Anyway, upon returning, my kids announced that the bunny was gonna hide eggs for them to find! Ummm…. This mama barely managed to get a couple treats let alone remembered plastic eggs to hide!

      I’m so glad H2S posts so many Cricut deals. I got one when Walmart was deeply clearance the air2 and so I pulled it out and cut out bunny shapes: 13 for each kid in different colors and hid them around the house…. Picture frames, the clock, the ceiling fan. They had a blast trying to find their midnight-cut, construction paper, no-treats basic bunny cut outs and asked to us to hide them again!

  15. darceyschroedershinhoster

    My daughter is turning double digits this month. Each day the week leading up to her birthday friends and family are gifting her a birthday box with an assigned color. Then the day of her birthday we will do a rainbow celebration at home. It’s just a way to brighten each day and every one seems excited at the challenge to gift little things within a certain color scheme.

  16. catherinewakefield

    Well. I’m sure you haven’t heard this one before. I PROMISE THIS IS WORTH THE READ. I’m in Barcelona. American. Single mom. Two teen BOYS going to school here. Had quick trip to New York City. Returned March 10th. With the virus. A few days latER. shut down. I’ve been under quarantined for more than a month. The last two weeks boys on spring break. They are super strict. My son was stopped by police on way to pharmacy. We are all stir crazy. However. Every night. Every night. We found to put balconies at 8:00pm sharp and clap for the healthcare workers. Church bells ring. Music blares. For 5 minutes. My Spanish is great. I had a friend translate for me a request that at 8:06 they wish my son. Who will turn 17 on April 14. We are alone here. To sing happy birthday and light a candle. I wish I could attach photos of the candles. And the baggie. Now. I purchased a long time ago tickets to see John Cleese perform on April 13. Birthday present. Of course officially cancelled just recently. The odds are. None. But I would really like to email someone who could forward it – an invitation to join our Zoom birthday party. #1 on this list. My son would feel really special. And well. Maybe Mr Cleese happen to a free moment to wish him happy birthday. Well. So. Well see. Both neighbors? Who like New York. Don’t really know each other . Will they sing? And Cleese call the kid his mother contracted Covid-19 and any gift she tried to order wouldn’t come for weeks…. maybe. He was 17 once. And my guess. With sense of humor beyond his years. I wouldn’t have read a post this long. I guess I wanted to tell someone. I’ve been too afraid to in case both flop. This was to be. Written on my phone. With my hobbit fingers and unproofed. This I would have sent to the art center in both English and Spanish. Hey. Thank for reading. In reply to cancellation of John Cleese performance : I’m a single mother living in Spain with two sons. One turns 17 on April 14. This was to be a special gift for him. I came back from nyc on March 10 with Covid-19. 100% fine now. But there was no time to get a replacement gift. Per your instructions, I am asking for a refund. I’m just wondering if would be at all possible for Mr. Cleese somehow to wish my son, Gray, a personal happy birthday? He is a good kid. (I have a Zoom “meeting” planned as a birthday party under quarantine at 10pm on April 14. I’m sure Mr Cleese has far better things to do that – pop in to our virtual party, but you had a contact email for someone who would share the invitation? The answer is always no unless you ask. Thank you for reading. Best, Cate

    • catherinewakefield

      Look passed the typos. And missed words like not. As in. My Spanish is NOT GREAT ET AL.

      • TJ

        That’s a fantastic idea! I hope Mr. Cleese sees your message and joins the fun. I’m so happy to hear that you’re feeling better. Thinking of you and your boys. You sound like a wonderful mom.

    • catherinewakefield


    • queen62

      Sorry you were sick with virus but thank god you are doing better. Hope your sons will enjoy there special day. Continue to be a great mom. God Bless you and family

  17. catherinewakefield

    Ps. You would most certainly be fined for non-essential drive by. Being outside doing anything non-essential. No chalk. But I like the idea. Might have to sneak out late – and have other son watch as look out. Lol. And I didn’t read much past Zoom. But you’d likely have to wait in line at a grocery store to get any ingredients or at least two weeks to order. I’ve been waiting more than that for printer ink – even cheap printers are out of stock on amazon.es Besos!! Stay inside!!!

    • Ana

      Did I miss something?

  18. sheri charboneau

    Thanks, My sons 21 Birthday is on the 19th.
    I am going to make cupcakes or a cake, ordered him some socks online at Walmart, and get him some stuff that he like to eat, and send him paypal and or giftcards, etc. and some baloons and stuff.

    • Sla1981

      A friend of mines kid turned 21. They got the neighbors involved. Instead of bar hopping he went mailbox hopping. They had a drink in mailboxes for him. I thought it was cute if your into drinking.

  19. johnsm4

    My sons 13th birthday was earlier last week. We went to my sisters house and “chalk bombed” her driveway while she was sleeping after working 3rd shift as a nurse. We then dropped off cupcakes (ding dong ditch style) to some relatives. Later, my sister and her family came over and sang Happy Birthday from the window and then we did a Zoom with some family and shared cupcakes and sang Happy Birthday. I was part of a drive by birthday for one of my daughters classmates siblings this past week too. I’ve seen a few local police/fire departments are doing drive bys so that’s something one could look into as well. I wasn’t aware (until I read the comments on here) that some states aren’t allowing drive bys so obviously it would be dependent upon where you live.

  20. Cindy

    My son’s 21st birthday was Thursday. I found this site vidhug.com where you send a link to people so they can make a video message. When you have all the messages you can pick background colors and music and add a typed message. I couldn’t get over how good it turned out! At first I was going to do the old “Happy Birthday Son I love you message” but everyone was so funny and creative and felt I really had to up my game. My daughter and her fiance made theirs like they were dancing in a club and toasting him, my sister and her husband did 21 shots of “vodka” for him. I had so many people telling me they were laughing and crying at the same time when they watched it. I was just nice for us to see each other safe and healthy. My son said he was going to keep that video for his whole life lol.

    • Lo

      That sounds so cool!
      Thanks for the info

  21. Lo

    Which states are only allowing essential travel?

  22. Jessica

    We always blow up balloons and fill the room while my daughter is sleeping so when she wakes up her room is covered. I also made a scavenger hunt leading to all her hidden gifts. We didn’t have as many since I am out of work so it stretched it out and made it more fun. We did a zoom bday call with all the family. I also reached out to people on social media asking if they could make a little sign for it and hold it up. The responses we’re great. My friend wearing a T-Rex costume, baby today signs, funny songs etc. Just make the best of it!

  23. CA

    My sons 16th birthday is exactly 2 weeks away…im getting pictures from around the US and other countries with people holding a sign telling him happy birthday with their location…im making a photobook for him and a slideshow…hoping to have his basketball team and friends do a driveby throughout the day to surprise him♡

    • megannt

      Do you need a Pa sign?

    • Pat

      Currently in AZ; need a sign?
      April 26 was my Mom’s birthday

  24. Tamara

    Hi friends….I need suggestions please, my youngest is turning 21 on the 27th. Gosh 21. Anyway, she doesn’t live with us. She is a county away. Can’t celebrate with her, but any suggestions????

    • Beverly

      What about a gift card to a restaurant near her home that offers takeout food and drinks and then having dinner “with” her via Skype or Zoom? Admittedly, that’s tame for a 21st celebration, but I would have liked it back when I turned 21.

  25. Heather

    All 3 of my kids’ birtbdays are this month. Oldest turned 17, youngest turned one. We were celebrating with a Disney trip with our family coming in from Hawaii and then a cruise right after. It all got canceled so we had small sweet family parties at home. Each older kid, on their birthdays, we setup a scavenger hunt to find their gifts. They had to answer a clue to find their next gift, etc. Each got 10. Each “gift” left at the clues was $10 to invest in the stock market (they both wanted to learn) as well as a big gift at the end. They loved it. I was surprised how great the days went to be honest.. we all know how teens can be. 🤪

    They also got to pick their breakfast, lunch and dinner meal menus. And loved that since we normally would go to their restaraunt of choice.

  26. Tonik

    My son is turning 6 in 2 weeks! He asked if we can make him letters/cards.So that’s what we will be doing and blowing up a ton of balloons!

  27. sarah

    I hosted a virtual party for my 8 year old this wknd, and the kids all made microwave mug cakes together, sang happy birthday, and enjoyed eating them and talking. We’ve also done Bingo Games virtually which would work great for a party too.

  28. Lora

    I don’t fully understand this idea about making such a big deal of birthdays. When I was a kid, we had a couple of friends come over for pizza and cake and we were happy. I understand times have changed but these days I feel like bdays are so over the top. And now with the stay-at-home order, people just seem to want to over compensate and out-do each other so they can post their “quarantine” bday pictures on social media. Idk I guess I just don’t get it. Stay safe everyone.

    • Kay

      I agree that some birthdays are over the top. I do make a big deal for my kids’ birthdays. They’re all rainbow babies so I am especially possessive and celebratory when they’re here. Other than their 2nd bday (no expectations and no memory), I do a bday party every year but it’s a simple house party. I don’t do fancy public venues or rent anything. I emphasize that the best part to any special event is the people, the loved ones. It’s important to build bonds through celebrating milestones together. I want the kids to feel special on their birthday. I’d rather go all out on their bday than on Christmas n other holidays. I think some parents get extreme with presents at Christmas time, or extreme with baskets at Easter time.

    • Joy

      I’m sorry for you 🙁

  29. Bobbie

    When I was a kid (in the 70s and 80s), my mom LOVED to make our birthdays special–we had treasure hunts with maps left in the mailbox as we all got off the bus after school, dress-up birthdays with a movie star theme where we watched classic movies on the VCR with heavily buttered popcorn, obstacle courses with Olympics theme, homemade games, fancy tea party theme (you could invite stuffed friend during isolation), etc. Some years we just had friends and pizza as we got older–but she *always* loved making a cake with our favorite character or current obsession (well before Pinterest or social media!)–I remember Holly Hobby, Pac-man, Yoda, Peanuts, Cookie Monster, etc. We never spent a lot of money (because we didn’t have a lot), but she loved making us feel like queen or king for the day. It’s not for everybody, but I treasure those memories of my childhood and have tried to create similar memories with my kiddos.
    It was harder this year with one birthday the end of March (15YO DS) and the other the first week in April (12YO DD)! Our area did not allow for the Car Parade, but we had Zoom birthday calls with grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins from BOTH sides of the family on one call! How often does THAT happen? We did a separate Zoom party with friends (my daughter is a tween, so they did online quizzes, shared memes, and played HeadsUp (a charade-like game); my son is a few years older, so they did an online gamers tournament with a video game they all play. We have a few standing traditions during “normal” times (waking up to the happy birthday song and cake in bed, streamers on bedroom door, etc.); so we made sure the usual traditions happened. We let them each pick the main meal on their birthday, THEY got to pick the family movie, THEY picked out the cake (my daughter wanted to help bake and decorate, my son did not); basically, they got to make all the decisions for the day (within reason of course)…AND their father and I did all their chores that day. 😉
    I hope this helps someone come up with a few more ideas?!

  30. Lynne

    Air mattress blower!! Ingenious. Why have I never thought of this??

  31. jlk7283

    I let my son have a virtual sleepover – stay up as late as he wants while video chatting/playing video games with his best friend. Matching shirts and junk food bins were made by the friends mom as a gift. It was a HUGE hit because I‘Ve never let him stay up all night before (he just turned 11).

  32. Kristina H

    Cash app is another way to give cash without Leaving your home. My birthday is Sunday so if anyone wants to cashapp me, let me know 😆😆

  33. Stephanie

    My daughter turned 11 today, we decorated the house and are having a special birthday dinner today. However, Saturday she is in for a big surprise, we are doing a birthday scavenger hunt! We are going to give clues and drive to family members / friends houses for their own creative surprise, whether it be a song, dance, card, present or wave from their yard! I’m excited to see what everyone came up with! It’s a good way to get us out of the house!

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Aww, Love that idea, Stephanie! Thanks for sharing with us! Happy Birthday to your daughter! Hope she has a great day and a wonderful weekend!🥰🎂

  34. Gramma C

    I guess this could be because I am almost 60 but I do not get all the hoopla over kids birthdays. They will survive if they don’t have a huge blowout or a parade of 50 cars where no one is wearing a seat belt ( at least in all the pics I have seen ) Growing up we had and I had for my kids, simple parties at home with immediate family. It was special and it was enough.

    • Lisa

      Gramma C- I am in agreement with you. I have 8 children. We usually do home parties. Some years a bigger deal than others. One year we had ” surprise day” where we took the birthday child to unknown fun locations, but this is not the norm. We celebrated a 17th birthday during this lock-down by having yummy take-out, and watching a special movie.

  35. Paula

    We had our drive by parade today, thank you Colin/team for sharing these wonderful ideas:).

    • Jennifer (Hip Sidekick)

      You are so welcome!

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